Community Learning Exchange

It’s the final countdown for the next CLE!

The gathering - “Looking Back to Move Forward": Leading for School, Family and Community Healing - begins next week in North Carolina. From October 10 to 13, teams from around the country will come together at the Franklinton Center at Bricks (FCAB) in eastern North Carolina. Participants will focus on a collective leadership approach to strengthening school and community ties, discussing how to engage a diverse group of community leaders in this effort.

About NELA

The North Carolina CLE is hosted by the Northeast Leadership Academy (NELA), a North Carolina State University program designed to develop strong school leaders in 14 northeast North Carolina school districts. NELA selects 60 future school leaders to receive specialized training, mentorship and field experience, where they work within schools and communities to address real-world issues. Participants earn a North Carolina principal certification and a Master of School Administration degree from NC State and make a post-degree commitment to work for three years in rural, high-need schools in northeastern North Carolina. This program infuses schools in the area with knowledgeable, passionate school leaders who want to make a difference.

Place-Based Education

Lynda Tredway, a member of the CLE host team who leads sessions about race and equity at NELA and used to run the Principal Leadership Institute at UC Berkeley, explained that place plays an essential role in shaping conversations about about school and community.

“In northeast North Carolina, people are still in the midst of trying to understand how all constituents can move together toward racial healing in communities,” said Lynda. “From slavery to the Civil War to segregation and integration, from what happened and what didn’t happen - It’s important to have a deep look at the collective history so people can understand how to hold joint responsibility and move toward the future.”

Having this open and honest conversation, as well as involving many different leaders, is essential for moving forward, she said.

“When you look at North Carolina’s school history, there are incredible people doing amazing things over the last 30 years. It takes community leaders, school leaders, youth leaders to do that. We know it’s not just North Carolina’s issue. It’s a national issue. If we do deep work with place-based education - which is much different than just having field trips - we can use history to propel us forward. The idea is to send people home with ideas for how to host their own one-day CLE in their own communities.”

Teams Working Together

Each participant in this CLE must come as part of a team that is designed to represent the voices of different community members:

  • School leader (principal, assistant principal, teacher-leader, superintendent)
  • Youth (middle or high schooler, or recent high school graduate)
  • Community leader/activist
  • Additional school/family/community member

Identity boxes from participants at the CLE hosted by Salish Kootenai College, MT 

 

This structure is core to the CLE; the idea behind it is that each team member will bring a unique set of experiences to the table. A school principal may have years of administrative experience she can apply to a problem, but a parent, community leader or student might offer a different but equally valuable viewpoint. Each member of the team adds depth and insight to the conversation.

“You can’t just put a bunch of school people together to confront an issue and expect that to work,” said Lynda. “Without having multiple constituents involved, it won’t happen. We have all those constituents, and they bring a whole different perspective. We need everyone’s voice. We also need to give youth the opportunity to be with elders and see how they can take up the work.”

Questions for Moving Forward

Whether you are attending the North Carolina CLE or not, consider these questions for your own community. How would you look back to move forward for stronger school and community ties?

 

Participants at the CLE hosted by Hawai'inuiakea School of Hawaiian Knowledge, University of Hawaii Manoa

 

1. How do your story and history inform this experience and guide your development as an advocate for healing in your community?
2. What does looking back on the NE North Carolina history tell us about how we need to move forward?
3. What is the power source fueling this place, work or idea?
4. What does leadership for racial healing and advocacy look like?
Learn more about the North Carolina CLE and follow updates on Facebook and Twitter.

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